HYDERABAD: Sindh Agricultural Forestry Workers & Coordinating Organisation (SAFWCO) held a one day training workshop.The objectives of the workshop were to create a favourable environment for the elimination of child marriages and teenage pregnancies, to sensistise different stakeholders on Child Marriage Restraint Act 2013, its implementation at local level and to improve coordination among various stakeholders for the effective tackling of the issue. The workshop was attended by young teenage boys and girls, police officials, people belonging from judiciary, local journalists and human rights defenders.The young teenage boys and girls from District Sanghar and Umerko participated in the workshop and shared their opinions and struggles against the social evil of early marriages in the society. Miss Erum Maria the programme Manager of the project “Yes I do” presented the project’s objectives, its progress and challenges faced in its implementation.Speaking on the occasion, Maria said that the project has been under implementation since 2010, with the assistance of a Netherlands based organisation called ‘Rutgers’, and five other partners from throughout Pakistan. The project designs curriculum for the children titled ‘Roshan Rahen’. ”Students are taught with the help of these books by their teachers, who are provided master training prior to their instructions to the students”, said Maria. She added that the project was being implemented through different stakeholders, including students, teachers, parents, police officials, religious leaders, media personnel and community leaders.In her presentation, she said that the one day workshop would enable the participants to know the works undertaken by the project to school girls against child marriages and teenage pregnancies, the challenges they faced in their struggle, social issues that they tackled and potential they saw by networking with different stakeholders. Sharing the challenges faced by student girls working on a project named’ kiran’ (ray of hope) , Ms. Shabana said that she was not afraid of the status quo of religion and cultural dominance, what mattered was the efforts to save life of these young kids by keeping them away from the bondage of early marriages and mobilising their parents for the continuation of their kids’ education.Speaking on the workshop, Deputy Director Education, Mr. Zain ul Abdin suggested the creation of synergies of Restraint child marriage Act 2013 with religious directions to avoid the public anger. Mr. Suleman Abro said that SAFWCO was preparing young individuals to realise their potential as an adult and adding the training would make them more confident and motivated to become leaders of the future.Deputy Director Women Development Department, Ms.Fozia suggested the concept of reintroduction of ‘Girl Guide’ and Scouts in schools which is currently missing in government and private schools.Mr. George Sherry, Nutrition consultant from European Union to Sindh Govt also highlighted the connection of nutrition and health of young girls during their pregnancy in early ages. He said that during early ages of girls, they need more mental cognitive development along with proper nutrition, in order to nurture well to become mother of tomorrow. He hoped that the social movement undertaken by the girls “Kiran” is overwhelming and it serves as an example of its own in Pakistan.One of the participants, Asfar Khan the incharge of human rights cell at Hyderabad, said that a common man has no access to help lines and human rights cell, and they are preparing posters to be pasted on the main entry points of the city for the public to get information about the issue and for the easy reporting of the incidents.At the end of the workshop, Mr.Zulifiqar Halepoto, a renowned social activist and politician concluded the workshop and suggested participants to form a group at district level to track continuous progress against child marriages.Published in Daily Times, September 1st 2018.